Mamas, this post is for you, no matter what age your baby is. It can be difficult to travel with your sweet babe, but after our most recent flights with our Ellie I’ve discovered some essential information for making the trip go smoothly. Save this post for your sanity and make sure to read before booking your first flight with baby. Also, for reference Ellie was 10 months old at the time, but almost all of these tips apply within the first year. Scroll to the bottom for must have travel essentials!
Bringing your car seat vs infant on lap
You have two options when it comes to traveling with your babe (under 2):
1. You can simply carry them on and they can sit on your lap the whole flight. If you choose this option you will check your stroller and car seat at the gate and wait for them when you get off. This is easiest when you have two people because you can pass the baby to each other.
2. Purchase the seat next to you and bring the car seat on. This is easiest if you’re traveling alone, so you have somewhere to place your baby during the flight and when you’re boarding. You can bring your car seat on if it complies with airline regulations. You can simply strap it in with the belt like you would in a car. Make sure to read your airline’s information first and the specific plane you’ll be traveling on, so that you know the car seat isn’t too big. There should be a sticker on your car seat that shows it is in compliance to bring on the airplane, something along the lines of “this restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” Also, on Spirit airlines they have you place the car seat by the window seat, due to emergency procedures.
Bring formula in a CLEAR bottle
This is important! Bring formula that is packaged in a CLEAR bottle. We accidentally packed 8 oz ready to serve that wasn’t clear and had to get searched in security — it was a pain!! They even wanted to open the bottles, but obviously once you open them you have to use them within an hour — so the alternative is then searching through everything and patting you down. It’s perfectly understandable from a security standpoint, but for mamas trying to travel this is a pain. So save yourself the headache and bring the 2 oz clear bottles. Click here to read more rules on the TSA website about traveling with breast milk, formula and juice.
Ask for help!
Ask for help, especially if you’re traveling alone. The flight attendants will help you get on and strap the car seat in right! You should be able to board first so you have extra time. When I recently flew by myself with Ellie to Florida the flight attendants and people at the gate were so nice and let me get on first, and strapped her in for me! Need help opening a door? Ask a stranger! Honestly fellow mamas I ran into would grab a door for me and it made me feel like I wasn’t alone in this world.
Take advantage of nursing stations/family rooms
Many airports now have designated rooms/ pods for nursing mothers to use with chairs and sinks. Take advantage of these to feed your babe and have a moment of peace in the chaos. There are also family restrooms so make use of those, so much easier!
Get organized with Ziploc bags
Bring a bunch of ziploc bags to put used bottles, bibs and dirty onesies in. Trust me you will want somewhere to keep things until you get to your destination.
Prevent earaches during take off
Prevent earaches during take off by feeding your baby a snack such as teething cookies or giving them a bottle/nursing during take off and landing.
Bring snacks and pre-ground meals
Bring lots of snacks and a mini lunch box/ cooler with food that’s already ground up/ready to eat. But bring your grinder in case you have a long enough layover that you can sit down and feed them (or get delayed).
Be patient and leave yourself extra time
Be patient with them and give yourself extra time, especially if it’s their first time. Ellie got sick at the end of her first flight. Remember that they are little people and if you get nauseous, chances are they could get motion sickness too! Also, leave yourself plenty of time to go through security and get to the gate. You’ll most likely be able to board first so take advantage of that and make sure you’re there and ready to board!
Bring extra everything!!
Bring lots of baby wipes/ Lysol wipes/ pacifier wipes because they will drop toys on the ground and you’ll need to clean them quickly. Even though the airlines are now supposedly cleaning more thoroughly, I like to wipe down the seats, trays, windows and chairs when we get on the plane so that anywhere Ellie could touch has been wiped down.
Also bring lots of extra clothes and an outfit that you can remove or add a layer to, so if the plane is hot or cold you can adjust their outfit. Make sure to bring an extra shirt for yourself too, so you’re not wearing spit up or vomit all day!
Toys & shows
Bring their fav toys to distract them! Make sure to bring some simple crunchy books and toys that don’t rely on batteries. Pre-download a few shows on your iPad so they can watch an episode of coco melon or whatever. Trust me, just cave if your LO is extra cranky or skipped a nap. It’s better than them screaming their head off and gets them through the last 20 min of the flight.
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